The New York Rangers' first game without Henrik Lundqvist was a pleasant surprise against the top team in hockey. The second might have had them saying enough is enough.
There's at least one more game separating their No. 1 goaltender from a return, and it's Tuesday night in Buffalo against a Sabres team seeking its first five-game point streak in nearly four years.
Lundqvist is expected to return from a neck injury this weekend - either Saturday in Detroit or Sunday at home against Pittsburgh - while Rick Nash is also nearing a return. He'll miss his 20th consecutive game with a bone bruise in his leg, but he's finally returned to practice on a no-contact basis.
"He is progressing very well," coach Alain Vigneault told the team's official website of Nash. "He was week to week, now he's day to day. He's got to get a couple practices in, get some contact, with the team. I do know that it looks very positive at this point."
They'll also be short at the blueline with Marc Staal out for a second straight game because of back spasms, and Dylan McIlrath will also skip the trip due to a knee injury.
McIlrath was injured in Sunday's 6-4 home loss to the New York Islanders as the Rangers (38-22-6) fell behind 3-0 in the opening five minutes. It followed Friday's 3-2 win in Washington. Regardless of personnel, all of their losses over a 7-4-1 span have come with the Rangers giving up at least four goals. >> Read more